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Eye opener at Daylesford


Thursday is a day off now for me and my bff Anne Marie, French origin, mother of four, force of nature, intensely forgetful.  Which is wonderful, since I am also incredibly forgetful, but it means, when we gripe together, that all issues are promptly filed away in the back cabinet somewhere and this is truly a blissful thing, because who wants worried phone calls and emails from friends to whom you have poured out your anxieties of the day?  Anxieties pass, all the better for sharing, but when it comes to sharing, it is a paradisical feeling to know that they’re not held on to by those you trust.  It becomes more of a worry, I find, to give information to someone only to have them fret over it, don’t you find?  So me and my friend are fit and felicitous in this regard.  Peas in a pod, pair of bookends, and what a joy it is to breathe free with someone who laughs her head off at your marital misfortunes because they mirror her own?

So it was in this blithe way we drove the short and beautiful route through the Cotswolds to our destination.  There, as I had promised, lay all our hearts could desire (I’ve said it before, so won’t bore you with it here).  I led A.M. hither and thither, smelling the wonderful Jasmine Pebble soap, the tomato vine candle to which I am so partial, greeted by wonderfully laughing staff in the clothes shop – is she French?  We were talking in French as we do only to eachother, a not so secret code, nowadays.  And on high alert for conversation interceptors when going for our coffee in the restaurant.

Given my paranoia, our waiter today sounded and looked like Arnie, an eye-popping Hungarian (I asked him, and he replied, “From Chipping Norton, Madam”, but since he added a wink I felt emboldened to require of his origins).  A thing of beauty in himself, I did wonder if he thought that shoddy service could be replaced by filling the space with male perfection, since my scrambled eggs contained a severe absence of smoked salmon, and my rye bread came ten minutes too late.  When the bill came and he asked if all was well, I did mention (had been agonising about this) that yes, save the lateness of the toast, he promptly ripped up the ticket and produced another bill, minus the coffee.

Now that’s what I call service. Well done, (Lady) Carol Bamford, someone in the recruiting department is thinking strategically.   By the way, should you venture there, he’s about 6ft 2, blue eyed, blond haired, very cheeky grin.  Beware, I think he might know how charming he looks.  I would suggest adopting a particularly severe facial expression.  Don’t, at any cost, flick your hair about (except, as in my case, my fringe Kylie plait came loose and I was duty bound to go fix it in the sumptious loos.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)  So brains and beauty at Daylesford, can it get any better?

Actually, yes.  Some of the food on display is eye-poppingly expensive unless your first name is Kate (Winslet and Moss, not the other one), but seek and ye shall find, as I did, avid breadmaker that I am.  Stoneground wholemeal flour for £1.25, so thanks very much, I’ll have two.  The cheese pantry is a delight to behold, but I kept my hand on my pocket whilst nibbling at the testers, all more than delicious.

En route home, house cleaning awaiting us both (well, we need to look like we’ve actually done something, today), we dropped into the Cotswold Woollen Mill, where I have departed with large sums of money in the past.  Namely, my husband’s Christmas present, a hand made Mr Fox Terrier dressed in three piece tweeds.  Who could resist?  And for my military man, I dare say (dare I?) almost tears, well, rather choked up on receipt of said gift this Chrismas.  But the Mill is indeed something to treasure, each tweed unique and covetable.

Last year my elder sister came for a fly by visit, and we bought matching cotton blazers, and two mohair throws a piece.  Extravagant, maybe, but these things are so unique, it’s hard to walk away.  The newly renovated tea shop hosts lots of tables, church pews (I’m a fan) and home made cake.  Next grown up friends birthday celebration will be there.  Tick.

Home now, and husband still overseas somewhere, so me and my not so little one are having risotto for tea.  I’m doing the no alcohol version so excuse me, it takes twenty minutes to stir, your eye not leaving the pan.  I can smell burning, better go.  Happy day off to all of you!

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